Thoughts on the Crisis in Ukraine – And How You Can Help

Last summer, in our search for a Development Director, we received several outstanding resumes. However, one resume in particular stood out. Lidia Zambilovici, a native of Moldova, grew up in the former Soviet Union, where Jewish communities in that part of the world continue to benefit from the work of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).

In her professional life, Lidia helped to strengthen the Jewish community of Moldova by serving as the Director of the Hillel Jewish Student Center and collaborated with JAFI on Aliyah and Birthright Israel. She also worked with the JDC and contributed her talents to many other programs. Lidia has proven to be an invaluable asset to our team.

I asked Lidia to share a few words about how the recent crisis in Ukraine has affected her and her family, many of whom still reside in Moldova and Ukraine.

I was born in Moldova, speak Russian with my Mama and Papa, and I cherish memories of multiple visits to both Ukraine and Russia. My nephew and former sister-in-law reside in Odessa (a port in Ukraine which is under attack now).

There are people here, in our nice mid-western city of Dayton (where I moved to this summer and already started falling in love with) who have family, friends, and relatives currently in Ukraine. I am not sure how they sleep; I know I haven’t. I think of my family. My nephew was brought to my parents in Chisinau (Moldova) yesterday at 11:49pm our time, over the border with Ukraine, taking an eleven-hour trip to cross 170 km (around 100 miles).

So technically my family is safe, right? Wrong. There are many people who cannot run, hide, or have a safety net. For example, Sumy is a city located near the border with Russia, and capital of the district where there are more than a million people who can’t run now, even if they wanted. I believe it is going to be a humanitarian catastrophe very soon. Stores are closed, national currency is below its lowest, and banks do not have money for people – many of whom have children or elderly relatives.

I unfortunately do not believe that we can stop this war, but we can help our partners who are there. We can give them a chance to help, even with the simplest necessities- medicine, food, clothes, gas, or even provide ways to escape. JDC, JAFI, ORT, and the Israeli Consulate – partners of Jewish Federations of North America who with your help worked towards reviving the Jewish communities in the Former Soviet Union – are there in Ukraine, Russia, and Moldova now providing assistance.

Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) is working closely with the JDC to provide much needed aid to Jewish communities affected by the crisis in Ukraine. You can read more about JFNA’s response and how you can support their efforts financially by clicking here.




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